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Car Shipping Cost Guide | Sherpa Auto Transport 5 months ago

Car Shipping Costs (2024)

The first question that customers often ask us is “how much does it cost to ship a car?” Car shipping cost isn’t fixed because what you pay is determined by several factors. Along with things like distance and the size of your vehicle, it’s important to consider that car shipping prices are a matter of supply and demand. Knowing what affects your car shipping cost can help you choose the best service to meet your needs and your budget.

Key Takeaways:

  • Many factors influence car shipping costs including vehicle size and operability, pickup and delivery locations, trailer type, and time of year.
  • Sherpa can recommend the most cost-effective solution to meet your shipment needs.
  • With Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise, the amount you are quoted is your final price so you know exactly how much you will pay for your shipment.

Car Shipping Costs on Average

While doing their research, many customers are curious as to how much it will cost to ship their car. While car shipping rates are highly variable, Sherpa’s team has compiled the following list of ranges for different shipping distances. Note that these rates are for shipping an operable sedan using an open trailer for transport. It’s also important to note that cost is influenced by many factors including shipment details and market conditions.

Car Shipping Rates per Mile

Shipment Mileage Price per Mile
0 to 500 miles $1.50 to $2.50
501 to 1,000 miles $0.95 to $1.30
1,001 to 1,500 miles $0.75 to $1.05
1,501 to 2,000 miles $0.60 to $0.85
2,001 to 2,500 miles $0.50 to $0.76
2,500+ miles $0.45 to $0.68

Popular Auto Transport Routes

Price ranges for popular vehicle transport routes can also help you get a better idea of how much you might pay for your shipment. Again, these cost ranges are influenced by shipment details and market conditions.

Route Price per Mile
New York City to Los Angeles $0.45 to $0.70
New York City to Miami $0.78 to $1.15
Los Angeles to Miami $0.45 to $0.60
Los Angeles to New York City $0.45 to $0.65
Miami to New York City $0.75 to $1.25
Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles $0.40 to $0.65
Chicago to Los Angeles $0.50 to $0.65
New York City to Houston $0.65 to $0.85
Los Angeles to Atlanta $0.50 to $0.70
Chicago to Phoenix $0.60 to $0.80

Shipping an inoperable vehicle or opting for enclosed car shipping comes with higher rates than the ones shown above. Getting online quotes is the best way to know what you’ll pay for your vehicle shipment.

Car Shipping Rates by Transport Type

Open Transport

The transport type, otherwise known as trailer type, plays a significant role in the cost of your transport. Open trailers are the most common and over 90% of Sherpa customers opt for an open car transport. Open trailers are typically the large double-decker trailers you see on the highway and are used for transporting vehicles from the manufacturer to the dealership.

Enclosed Transport

Enclosed transport is a great option for shipping classic cars or high value-vehicles where you would like extra protection. However, enclosed shipments will typically cost about 50% more than open trailer transport. There are fewer available carriers with enclosed trailers relative to the consumer demand for this transport. In addition, enclosed trailers typically hold fewer vehicles at a time, so these carriers require the higher costs to make the shipments worth their time.

What Determines Car Shipping Costs?

There are many other factors that affect car shipping costs, including the following:

  • Shipping distance: This is a major factor in cost. While long-distance shipments cost more in total, they cost less per mile than shorter trips.
  • Pickup and drop-off locations: Shipping to and from urban locations is cheaper than shipping between rural areas. If you are looking for pickup or delivery from a more remote location, ask how much you can save by moving to a larger city or closer to the highway.
  • Pickup window: Sherpa’s most cost-effective option is a five business day window for pickup. If you are in a hurry and need an expedited pickup window, your shipment will be more expensive.
  • Vehicle size: The weight, length, and height of your vehicle will impact shipping costs. The same goes for ground clearance, as cars that are lower to the ground are more expensive to ship.
  • Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles are expensive to ship because they need to be winched or forklifted onto a trailer. If your car is operable, meaning that it can roll, brake, and steer, the shipping cost will be lower.
  • Trailer type: Open trailers are the most common car haulers and are the best option for the majority of customers. Enclosed auto transport is more expensive, but covered carriers offer protection from road debris for high-end vehicles.
  • Time of year: Car shipping costs tend to be higher in January and the summer months, which is peak season for auto transport.

How to Lower Your Car Shipping Cost

Auto transport services can be expensive, and costs can increase quickly. Along with comparing quotes from several auto shippers, you can reduce the cost of shipping by taking these steps:

  • Lock in your price early: Getting a jump on your reservation is important because it gives car shipping companies plenty of time to submit competitive bids.
  • Be flexible: Being flexible about car shipment can substantially reduce your cost, especially when it comes to your pickup window and pickup and delivery locations. In addition, avoiding holidays and the busiest times of year will also help lower your costs
  • Ask about discounts: Many car shipping companies, including Sherpa, offer discounts for students, members of the military, and first responders.

Car Shipping Things to Know

We know that learning how to ship a car can seem daunting at first. That’s why Sherpa’s experts are here to help you through your vehicle shipment from initial quote through delivery.

  • The first step is to consider your budget and car shipment needs. 
  • Request a free quote either through our instant quote tool or by speaking to an auto transport expert
  • Once you lock in your quote, Sherpa handles the rest. We get to work right away to vet and secure a highly qualified carrier to transport your vehicle.

Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport is a great choice for a smooth car shipping experience, from our initial, all-inclusive quote to your vehicle’s delivery. Here are a few things that set us apart from the competition:

Price Lock Promise

When you get a quote from Sherpa, that price is locked in. With our exclusive Price Lock Promise, you can have peace of mind knowing what you’ve been quoted is what you’ll pay. Sherpa will cover up to $300 of the difference if your shipment price changes so that your car shipping cost stays the same.

Thorough Carrier Vetting

Our comprehensive vetting process means we work with only the best car shipping companies. We study accident reports, maintenance records, and other data points to maintain an elite network of trusted carriers.

Customer Reviews

Sherpa was founded to make the auto transport process easy and stress-free. We evaluate our success based on the feedback we receive from our customers and we are proud to have a 4.9 out of 5 star Total Review Score from thousands of customer reviews.

Car Shipping Cost FAQs

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it?

Your Sherpa shipment includes up to 100 lbs of personal items or household goods stored in the trunk area or below the window line.

How long does it take to ship a car?

Shipping a car cross-country typically takes about 10 days. Your timeline will vary depending on the route, the size of the vehicle, and whether you use an open or enclosed carrier. Weather conditions and road work can also impact the shipment schedule.

What is the fastest way to ship a car?

Open auto transport is the fastest shipping option for your car. Open trailers can typically haul up to 10 cars at a time. They’re also the most common type of car hauler, which means you’ll have more options when it’s time to make a reservation.

How can I save money on car shipping?

You can reduce car transport costs by making your reservation as early as possible and being flexible on shipping dates.